Camping at Monarch Park Campground

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The housemates and I went camping last weekend. I haven’t camped much in my life but I think that may change – at least a little. I had such a fun time. I was relaxed almost the entire time and really enjoyed myself. We camped at Monarch Park Campground, a campground 30 minutes past Salida, about 3 hours away from our house. We left Friday afternoon and had plenty of light to set up camp before cooking kabobs over a fire for our dinner. Turns out kabobs cook pretty slowly (lesson learned) so Elisabeth and I took the fixings off the sticks and cooked them laid out on foil. Success. We roasted marshmallows and had a great time. Then it got dark and the multitude of stars came out and I just started sputtering and gasping because I absolutely love seeing the stars. And oh did I see them. We could even see the Milky Way. We laid out in the dark and looked up at the stars and contemplated our small lives and giggled. We even saw some meteors shooting across the sky. It was wonderful.

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Gene carrying a stump for us to sit on by the fire

I didn’t sleep great, but supposedly that’s just part of camping life. We went on a hike on Saturday. It was nice, weather was great for us and we made it to a pretty lake where we sat and watched the water for a bit. We headed into Salida when we were done and got ice cream  before going to a hot springs pool. Turns out I wouldn’t really call the place a hot springs, it was just a warm pool, but I still had a blast. Oh my gosh I love being in the water. We stayed there for quite a bit of time, relaxing in the hot water and then swimming around the regular-temperature side. I could have stayed longer if it weren’t for my pruned fingers and slightly filmy eyes. We stopped at the store after that to pick up hotdogs for dinner. Back at camp we made another fire, ate dinner, and watched the stars again. Both nights we spotted satellites orbiting the earth, it was so neat.

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Hiking

Sunday we packed up and drove to Buena Vista where we did a short hike and played around in the river at the back of town. They were having some kind of festival which included a burro race. It just so happened the end of the race was right across from where we were playing in the water so we got to see lots of burros jogging along the trail. It was so cute. We stopped for lunch in Fairplay after that and then finally made our way home. Traffic was pretty bad so it took us at least twice as long as it should have. Good thing to remember for next time. Because there will be a next time! While I’m not ready for trail camping yet, car camping was definitely doable. I’d like to do it at least once a year.

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Monarch Park Campground was an awesome spot. It was far enough away from home and 30 minutes away from the nearest town that it felt like a real retreat. The campground was clean, had potable running water, and had vault bathrooms. The campground hosts checked in on us the first night, which was really nice, and our campground site was spacious. The campgrounds, though somewhat close to each other, didn’t feel too close. And there were trees separating us from our closest neighbors. I would go back. The host did tell us that the owners are going to cut lots of trees down this year so who knows what it will look like next summer. But I’d still give it a shot.

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Me posing with the ax a fellow camper let us borrow

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